Engage Your Tribe with a Charity Challenge

If you’re looking to bond with your community members, customers, partners, donors, friends and family in a fresh way, consider uniting them around a charity challenge.

Many groups are discovering that connecting around the charitable cause of an existing 5K, 10K, or even a marathon can be a great way to engage your community, “fund-race” for the causes you care about, and promote your organizations’ mission. The beauty of these events is that they’re very popular right now and there’s usually a distance for every age and skill level, including 1-mile Fun Runs for little ones.

You can also do a charity challenge apart from a race. Just find a cause and design your campaign events to get others on board. It could be anything from a Chili Cook-off1 to a fun event you create to support one of the many sports, arts, education and other charities in the Quicken Loans Charity Challenge.2 If you choose something well-known, it’s easy to piggyback on the cause’s marketing to promote your team.

10 Reasons to Organize a Charity Challenge

Your charity challenge can incorporate many of the values and activities you’re already investing in. What’s more, a charity challenge can offer you structure and accountability to actually do the things you want to do, but don’t seem to make your priority list.

Here are the benefits you’ll see:

  1. Gain greater accountability to be active and philanthropic
  2. Have more fun getting active
  3. Bring your community together in a meaningful way
  4. Really get to know your colleagues outside of work
  5. Support a worthy cause
  6. Promote the value of both exercise and giving back to the community to your kids, your students or your campers
  7. Enjoy the well-known benefit of setting challenging goals and accomplishing them
  8. Engage with customers and prospects face to face — outside of social media
  9. Boost the morale of your organization
  10. Validate your organization to mission-minded prospects

How Fund-Racing Works for ACTIVE

Since 2007, an internal employee program here at ACTIVE called ACTIVEx has rallied employees every year for a charity challenge benefiting organizations that promote active lifestyles for kids. This “fund-racing” event combines two of ACTIVE’s major goals:

  • To raise money for an organization that shares our mission to make the world a more ACTIVE place.
  • To encourage our employees to participate in an endurance event organized by an ACTIVE client for the purpose of stretching staff personally and philanthropically, as well as growing camaraderie among coworkers and supporting our client.

We’re preparing for our 10th charity challenge now! Take a look at last year’s.

Over the years, we’ve raised more than $439,000 for local non-profits in cities across the country that share our goals, including local YMCAs, youth sports organizations, and camps. Many of the employees involved had never trained for or participated in a running event before. Some have even become triathletes because of the challenge!

How to Organize Your Charity Challenge

1. Choose a charity. Find a cause that resonates with you and your tribe (or a 5K, 10K, marathon or triathlon nearby supporting a one). For example, the Jacob Logan 5K & Fun Run in Coppell, TX, brought together a community grieving over one teen’s untimely death to raise money for orphans in Zambia.

ACTIVE’s charity challenges focus on getting kids active through organizations like the YMCA, Girls on the Run and Kids in the Game.

For even more fun, choose a themed race like a Turkey Trot, Jingle Jog or Ugly Sweater Run or one of the many fun runs featuring mud, colored powder, bubbles or obstacles. Most of these are associated with charitable organizations.

2. Set up your fundraising tools. The race or charity you choose usually has donation software that makes it easy to set up fundraising pages and manages the financial aspects of the race. (You shouldn’t have to handle any of the money). They’ll help you set this up for your team.

3. Set a fundraising goal (as a team and as individuals). $300 is a very achievable goal for most individuals.

4. Announce your event. Introduce the event at least three months prior to race day to give participants time to ‘train’ and raise money.

5. Promote the race. Create a page for your event on Facebook or another social media platform, talk it up, plan training meet-ups, and design a t-shirt for your team. Your biggest job is Chief Cheerleader.

6. Celebrate your success. Plan an after-event party to celebrate your team’s accomplishments.

7. Use the event for social media and marketing later. Invite the media, take lots of pictures and promote the event on your website, in brochures, and on social media. Talk it up!

8. Go ahead and plan now for your 2nd Annual Charity Challenge. That allows you to promote next year’s event while energy is high and to give the initiative time to grow. It can take a few years for a new event to become a recognized and beloved in a community.

Check out ACTIVE.com, our event marketplace, to find events you can join.

Given the popularity of social running for a cause, a charity challenge can add a new dimension of hope and health to your community and loyalty to your program as you give back and get active together.

[If you decide to try your own charity challenge, we’re happy to answer any questions you may have about getting people involved or structuring your program. PM us through our Let’s Talk Camp Facebook page and mention this post and we’ll reach out.]

1Pendery’s Charity Challenge
2Quicken Loans Charity Challenge

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About Gina Calvert

Gina Calvert is the Senior Marketing Writer for ACTIVE Network, providing marketing and business resources for active lifestyle organizations across a range of markets, including government, nonprofits, camps, schools and endurance events, for more than six years.